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Top Computer Programming Colleges

Last Updated on November 9, 2021 by

50 Best Online Computer Programming Degrees [2021 Guide]

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The Best Colleges for Computer Programming

10 Top-Rated Computer Programming Colleges in the U.S.


Computer programming is a high-demand skill no matter where you choose to live or in which kind of business you plan to work. These recession-proof jobs allow you to innovate, create, and troubleshoot all kinds of technology on a daily basis. If you think computer programming degrees are just for introverts or people with extensive programming experience, think again. Most degrees require little to no prior experience in computer science or coding, and there are a range of opportunities for you to work in a collaborative team or in a project-based setting.

The Best Colleges for Computer Science ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from different sources. The ranking compares the top computer science schools across the world.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: This school is primarily focused on technology and business management.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as MIT, is a private research facility and school that ranked first for its programming languages programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2018. MIT awards a Master of Science in Computation for Design and Optimization, offered in conjunction with the engineering, science, and management schools. The program focuses on analyzing and implementing the computational approaches used to design and maintain computer programs.

2. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA

School Highlight: CMU is known for its science and technology programs.

Carnegie Mellon University is a private research institution that ranked second among programming language programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2018. At the university’s School of Computer Science, students can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in computer science and language technologies. Once enrolled, students become familiar with designing and monitoring computer programs for current systems and technologies.

3. Stanford University in Stanford, CA

School Highlight: Stanford offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science program.

Stanford University is a private research institution that ranked third among top programming languages programs by U.S. News & World Report for 2018. Stanford’s Computer Science Department awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as the opportunity for students to immerse themselves in field-related research and programming. Program emphasis is on teaching future computer programmers how to analyze software systems and understand the mathematical foundations of computing.

4. University of California – Berkeley

School Highlight: This school offers research and instructional programs through the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) department.

According to U.S. News and World Report in 2018, the University of California in Berkeley ranks fourth for top programming languages programs. At the undergraduate level, they offer a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science. Students in these programs are required to take courses in the natural sciences, mathematics, electrical engineering and computer science, as well as programming languages. The school also offers a BS to MS five-year program that is designed for students who are interested in pursuing graduate education. At the graduate level, the school has Master of Science and Ph.D. in Computer Science programs.

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5. Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Founded in 1636, Harvard has since cemented its reputation as one of the premier institutions of higher education in the world. The university’s Computer Science Department, housed within the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, offers a variety of computer science programs and conducts research in a variety of areas that include artificial intelligence, program languages, and computational linguistics.

Harvard’ computer science students can access research institutes like:

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society
The Center for Research on Computation and Society
The Institute for Applied Computational Science
These think tanks help Harvard direct its efforts towards a variety of academic areas such as:

Applied Math
Applied Physics
Electrical Engineering
Environmental Science
Public Policy

In an effort to reach these widespread and extremely lofty goals, Harvard outlined a plan in November 2014 to increase its computer science faculty by half while also opening up new state-of-the-art facilities on campus.

  1. University of Cambridge
    Cambridge, England

With over 800 years of history, the University of Cambridge goes back further than the United Kingdom itself. Founded in 1937, the school’s Department of Computer Science and Technology also claims an impressive history and record of excellence. Over 200 researchers within the department focus on various areas within the field, like graphics and interaction, security, computer architecture, digital technology, and artificial intelligence.

Cambridge offers a variety of degrees in computer science, including a Ph.D. and a one-year master’s of philosophy. Undergraduate students who qualify can add a year to their program to earn a master of engineering degree in addition to their bachelor’s degree. Cambridge’s programs are some of the best computer science master’s programs available today. Each week, the computer science department’s laboratory offers seminars on topics like logic and semantics, networks and operating systems, and security. In addition, students can choose to participate in the department’s [email protected] initiative, which works to support women in research and roles of academic leadership within the field.

  1. Princeton University
    Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is one of the most beautiful North American universities, but its aesthetic qualities may be overshadowed by its reputation for technical-focused academics. The school’s computer science students enjoy all the advantages of a world-class university with a strong representation in their chosen specialization.

Students within Princeton’s Department of Computer Science can research problems in:

Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies
Computational Neuroscience
Georeplicated Cloud Storage and other Leading Subfields of Information Theory
All degree candidates must complete at least one design- or research-related project before becoming eligible for graduation.

Undergraduate students of computer science can pursue either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science in engineering, while graduate students can choose between a master of science in engineering or a Ph.D. Offering some of the best computer science programs available, Princeton’s computer science department is broken down into:

Computational Biology
Computer Architecture
Machine Learning
Markets/Game Theory/Economics
Programming Languages/compilers

  1. University of Oxford
    Oxford, England

Oxford has the unique distinction of serving students as the oldest English-speaking university in the world. The school boasts an extensive list of achievements and accolades; the Times Higher Education World University Rankings named it the top learning institution in the world for academics and research. In addition, Oxford hosts the largest library system in the U.K. and runs the largest and most widely recognized academic publishing house in the world. Alumni include 26 Nobel Prize winners, 120 Olympic medalists, 26 U.K. prime ministers, and over 30 other world leaders.

Established in 1957, Oxford’s Department of Computer Science is one of the oldest in the country. Research topics include:

Automated Verification
Computational Biology
Information Systems
Programming Languages
Software Engineering
The department offers three undergraduate tracks of study, four master’s tracks, and a Ph.D. in computer science.

  1. University of Toronto
    Toronto, Ontario

Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has become Canada’s most respected research institution. The school features three main campus locations, 44 libraries, and affiliations with 10 teaching hospitals. Points of pride for U of T include the world’s first operational broadcasting system without batteries, the first effective use of insulin in treating diabetes, and the world’s first single lung transplant, among many other unique accomplishments.

U of T created its Department of Computer Science in 1947 along with the establishment of the school’s Computation Centre. Students may choose to earn a bachelor of science, master of science, or a Ph.D. in computer science.

Research topics within the department include:

Applied and Discrete Mathematics
Artificial Intelligence
Computational Biology
Computer Graphics
Computer Systems and Networks
Database Systems
Health and Assistive Technology
Human-computer Interaction
Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing
Programming Languages and Methodologies
Software Engineering
Theory of Computation
This wide range of concentrations covers virtually every aspect of computer science and gives students seemingly endless opportunities for specialization in completing computer science programs.

  1. ETH Zürich
    Zürich, Switzerland

Specializations include:

Data Management and Machine Learning
Information and System Security
Pervasive Computing Systems
Visual Computing
Current projects include work on learning systems and algorithmic methods. The distinguished faculty boasts over 30 professors, including Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers fellow Onur Mutlu and Golden Owl Teaching Award winner Juraj Hromkovic.

The department offers computer science master’s programs in cybersecurity, data science, and robotics systems and control. At the undergraduate level, students may specialize in data processing, software engineering, and theoretical computer science. The first year of undergraduate coursework is taught in German, with additional years increasingly taught in English. The department also offers a summer research fellowship for undergraduates and graduate students. The fellowship aims to increase diversity and participation is open to all students worldwide. Students may also opt to complete a part-time continuing education certificate program spanning 1-2 semesters.

  1. University of California – Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, California

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Though relatively young compared to other universities, UCLA already claims an impressive history. Founded in 1919, the school has produced 13 Nobel laureates, 12 MacArthur fellows, over 250 Olympic medalists, and over 140 technology-based companies.

While UCLA didn’t formally establish its Computer Science Department until 1968, the school made contributions to the information revolution as early as the 1940s. In addition to graduate programs, the university offers a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering. Offering online computer science programs, the department features 20 different research groups and laboratories as invaluable resources for students and staff alike. These are incorporated into several research centers:

The Center for Autonomous Intelligent Networked Systems
The Center for Domain-Specific Computing
The Center for Encrypted Functionalities
The Center for Information and Computation Security
The Center for SMART Health
The Scalable Analytics Institute

  1. University of Melbourne
    Melbourne, Australia

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For more than 50 years, Melbourne has been an internationally recognized leader in information technology and computing research. Melbourne’s Computer Science Department began in 1956 with the commissioning of CSIRAC, Australia’s first digital computer. In 1975, Peter Poole served as the first chair of the department, now known as the School of Computing and Information Systems. In 2010, information systems merged with computer science and software engineering to form a single department.

Today, the department’s research specialties include energy-efficient cloud computing, machine learning and optimization, and artificial intelligence language processing. The school invites graduates and industry members to contribute to the ongoing refinement of the curriculum. Collaborative research projects with industry leaders include augmented reality in retail sales and travel data use to predict destinations.

The department offers five undergraduate computer science programs, including data science and spatial systems. Students interested in the social and business aspects of computing may find the school’s undergraduate information systems program an ideal match. Highly skilled students who score well on programming proficiency exams may opt for accelerated study.

The school also admits some graduate students with undergraduate majors in non-tech fields. Master’s program offerings include software engineering, spatial engineering, and information technology.

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  1. University of Washington
    Seattle, Washington

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From humble beginnings, UW now hosts three campuses that include 16 schools and colleges run by more than 3,000 full-time faculty members. As a testament to the academic excellence of the school, undergraduate and graduate students now number over 54,000. UW features 440 degree options across 280 programs.

Computer science and engineering at UW was originally established in 1967 as an inter-college graduate program. The undergraduate program was added in 1975, and the program became a department of its own. Continued growth and development of UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering has led to the employment of 50 faculty members and 75 technical staff members, including three MacArthur fellows. Research topics for the school’s online computer science programs include:

Artificial Intelligence
Big Data
Security and Privacy
Ubiquitous Computing
Wireless and Sensor Systems

  1. Imperial College London
    London, England, UK

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Located at the South Kensington campus, the Computing Department at Imperial ranks among the largest computer science departments in the UK. The department’s well-known research focus areas include artificial intelligence, analysis and verification, data science, and distributed software engineering.

Top-notch student project work is frequently published in leading academic journals and research conference proceedings. The computing support group, staffed by department members, provides support for teaching, administration, and research.

The department offers up to 30 fully funded Ph.D. programs per year to students holding master’s degrees, and more than 80% of doctoral students receive funding. The department also delivers a special doctoral program in embedded and distributed systems.

All the department’s computer science master’s programs in engineering and computing require a six-month paid industry internship. Imperial maintains a study-abroad program featuring exchange arrangements with ETH Zürich in Switzerland, Ensimag in France, RWTH Aachen in Germany, and additional competitive opportunities in the U.S for third- and fourth-year students.

Each student is matched with a personal tutor and advisor throughout the program. First year students also receive tutoring in programming and mathematics.

Best Computer Science Programs In The World |
  1. California Institute of Technology
    Pasadena, California

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Located in Pasadena, Caltech’s Computing and Mathematical Sciences Department offers some of the best computer science programs in the world. Recognized for its encouragement of collaborations across disciplinary boundaries, the department’s research areas include geometric mechanics and stochastic computing. In 2017, Caltech launched an autonomous systems research center focused on robotics, drones, driverless cars, and machine learning.

The department awards students prize fellowships in areas such as artificial intelligence, applied mathematics, and data science from sources like Google and the National Science Foundation. The distinguished faculty roster includes three MacArthur fellows, three Sloan fellows, and several teaching award winners. The department also proudly hosts the Kortschak scholars program in human and artificial intelligence.

Pioneering efforts at Caltech include a massively parallel supercomputer and the first asynchronous microprocessor. John McCarthy of LISP and Stephen Wolfram of Mathematica are among notable CMS alums. Additionally, companies like Achronix and FastSoft started through Caltech research.

The school’s doctoral programs require full-time attendance and three years of residency. CMS frequently collaborates with disciplines such as bioengineering, geology, and economics, providing students with many options to customize their studies. Students can choose concentrations for majors and minors in areas such as dynamical systems, coding theory, and algorithms.

  1. Cornell University
    Ithaca, New York

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From its founding in 1865, Cornell University has set itself apart from its Ivy League peers through its aggressive and revolutionary principles. Located in Ithaca, New York, the university stands on the cutting edge of research within many fields, including X-ray imaging, self-sustaining robotic exploration, and mapping microbes.

Cornell created its Department of Computer Science in 1965 and has since made substantial research contributions to the field. Gerard Salton, also known as the “father of information retrieval,” joined the department from Harvard and brought with him SMART technology that became the foundation of more than 30 years of research and the Google search engine.

Students, from the undergraduate level to doctoral candidates, must meet high academic standards. Data structure, algorithms, operating systems, programming languages, and theory of computation are just a few of the areas students have to fully understand. At the master’s level, computer science students can pursue a two-semester professional degree in engineering or a two-year master of science. Cornell’s computer science department accepts only 25 doctoral students each year. In completing their computer science programs, these students must demonstrate mastery in programming languages, theory, artificial intelligence, and systems.

  1. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Champaign, Illinois

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867 and hosts a highly talented and respected faculty that includes 18 Pulitzer Prize winners. The university enjoys fame for the invention of the first graphical web browser as well as being the first university to provide full access to students with disabilities.

Illinois Computer Science was established in the 1940s and is currently managed by 61 distinguished faculty members, including 16 ACM fellows, 20 IEEE fellows, and 27 NSF career award winners. The department offers seven different computer science programs and more than 90 courses to its students. The university also hosts the largest ACM student chapter in the world.

The school’s innovative Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science laboratory serves as an advanced, interactive way for students to study the most recent and emerging computer technology. Research areas include:

Artificial Intelligence
Database Systems
Human-computer Interaction
Information Retrieval
Systems and Networking

  1. Columbia University
    New York, New York

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Originally founded as King’s College in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York and the fifth-oldest in the United States. One of nine colonial colleges established before the American Revolution, Columbia administers the Pulitzer Prize annually and has had 101 Nobel Prize laureates among its students, faculty, and staff. Former notable alumni include five of the nation’s Founding Fathers, nine Supreme Court justices, and three U.S. presidents.

Offering some of the best computer science master’s programs today, Columbia’s Computer Science Department focuses on 10 major research areas:

Computational Biology
Computer Engineering
Graphics/User Interfaces
Machine Learning
Natural Language Processing and Speech
Software Systems
Computer science students at Columbia can access 20 different laboratories and research groups. Undergraduate students can choose from among seven degree programs, while master’s students can select from 10 available tracks. Doctoral candidates conduct directed research and are strongly encouraged to dedicate a year of community service to the department.

  1. University of Edinburgh
    Edinburgh, Scotland

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As the sixth-oldest English-speaking university in the world, the University of Edinburgh boasts an impressive history of accolades and academic achievements. A member of the Russell Group and the League of European Research Universities, the university has the third-largest endowment in the United Kingdom (after Cambridge and Oxford). The school’s academic programs fall under three colleges with 25 different departments. Home to more than 35,000 students and 6,000 staff members, the university of Edinburgh can claim association with several esteemed alumni and former or current staff, including 20 Nobel Prize winners, one Pulitzer Prize winner, and three prime ministers.

With some of the best undergraduate computer science programs, the university of Edinburgh’s computer science department is one of the largest in the Science and Engineering Faculty. The Department of Artificial Intelligence, the Centre for Cognitive Science, and the Department of Computer Science combined in 1998 to form the School of Informatics. Research areas that the school is well-known for include:

Artificial Intelligence
Computational Linguistics
Mathematical Logic
Systems Biology
Theoretical Computer Science

  1. The University of Texas at Austin
    Austin, Texas

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Founded in 1883, UT Austin has been consistently recognized as a world-class research university. The school boasts seven museums that feature more than five million collections in addition to 17 libraries that are home to more than 10 million volumes.

UT Austin’s Department of Computer Science has its own proud history. The department manages its own network with more than 1,600 hosts and 12 laboratories featuring state-of-the-art computing resources. In addition, the faculty are highly experienced and recognized worldwide, boasting more than 150 national and international awards.

Students may pursue undergraduate or graduate-level study. Undergraduates are expected to engage in research and networking and must complete an internship to gain hands-on experience. Learners in computer science master’s programs focus on research, with particular focus in the following areas:

Artificial Intelligence
Data Mining
Formal Methods and Verification
UT Austin’s campus hosts a nonprofit organization, Women in Computer Science, that focuses on helping women network within the business world of computer science.

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